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Back on the Burr Trail 

(Reprint from News: June 18, 2001)

June 18, 2001


After leaving the Calf Creek Falls that afternoon, I headed east following two of my favorite routes in America:  Utah Highway 12 and the Burr Trail.  Words can't describe either road -- especially my words -- so I'll just post some photos.  Highway 12 is fantastic but the Burr Trail is absolutely phenomenal, even though the last 20 miles are unpaved.  The dirt stretch is a little bumpy, but it's graded and my two-wheel drive Toyota pickup didn't have any trouble.  Few people know about the Burr Trail but it's an amazing drive, and I've spent many evenings in rainy Portland during the past few years wishing I were back on the dusty Burr Trail again. 


As the sun started to lower on the horizon, I pulled off the empty road just south of Capitol Reef National Park, drove a hundred yards down a dirt track, and stopped my truck at the edge of spectacular Clay Canyon, one of my favorite camping sites in the U.S.  Time for more Nacho Doritos, Pace salsa, and Diet Pepsi. 


Relaxing on my folding chaise lounge, I looked around and figured that I was probably the only person that evening within 200 square miles.  I can't imagine a better place to eat chips and salsa than at the edge of desolate yet oh-so-beautiful Clay Canyon.



Above left:  Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument was created in 1996 by President Clinton.  Too bad, because now everyone knows about this beautiful part of Utah.  

Above center:  The fabulous 52-mile Burr Trail, which is actually a two-lane (well, one-and-a-half lane) road from Boulder, Utah, to Capitol Reef National Park.  

Above right:  The most incredible part of the Burr Trail is at the top of a mile-long stretch of switchbacks.  This is like driving down a corkscrew and it's a real thrill.  It's a dirt road, but even two-wheel drive vehicles like my truck can make it.



Above left:  Looking for another campsite.  Don't worry about entering gates unless they're specifically marked "No Trespassing" -- just make sure you close them after you pass through.  Fences on public land are to keep cattle in, not to keep visitors out. 

Above center:  Once in a while, I'll stumble across a fantastic campsite like this one, overlooking 1,000-foot deep Clay Canyon near Lake Powell.  Those are the Henry Mountains in the background, the last explored mountain range in the lower 48 states.  This is one of the most remote areas in the U.S.

Above right:  After driving on the Burr Trail, nothing tastes better than Doritos, salsa and a cold Diet Pepsi.  Beautiful, empty places like this are why I love Utah.



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